Saturday, August 25, 2007

Italy - Day 5 - The Wedding

Today was the big day for Denny and Katia. We went to Denny's early on for a late breakfast/early lunch. And for some Texas Hold 'Em to release any stress.... which there didn't seem to be any. I took a nice nap (since I suck at Hold 'Em and was out early) and then we went back to the hotel (our new hotel where the wedding was to be held) to get changed. We arrived at the town center where the groom showed up with his family - and then the bride and her family shortly after. Just as the ceremony was about to begin, Denny asked his brother (their witness of the ceremony) if he remembered to bring his passport, which was needed. Of course not!!! So I took off my shoes and ran through the town as fast as I could to where they were staying, ran up to the top of the building and searched the apartment for his passport. It was there that I had the most surreal moment yet of my life (besides giving birth). I was in this strange foreign town where I did not speak the language, running to a place I had only been a few times (but still got there on the first try) and finding this guy's passport. I had never even been out of the country before and now it was second nature to me in that moment. I remembered Patrick's friend always saying "Live in the moment". So I tried to remember all the things I was seeing and feeling - and to quote from the movie "The Peaceful Warrior", I realized that there are no ordinary moments. As I was running through the town I was focused on getting to my destination, but then tried to listen to what was going on around me. A man yelling "Bella Donna (beautiful woman)". Two lovers kissing. A mother scolding her 2 year old then hugging him. Extraordinary. Things that, as an American, I did not expect to see anywhere except in the US. But here is was. Just as plain. Just as beautiful. The streets I was running on were worn down from time, the stones smooth as ice (and just as slippery). The old buildings, looking beat up and, well, old...were scarred with memories of battles and ancient times. Time seemed to go in slow motion and I felt the salty ocean breeze waft upon me as I ran (okay, jogged). I was truly in the moment and then came to the ceremony which in itself was extraordinary. Two separate families, merging together. Two separate people merging together. It reminded me of my life with Patrick. When we first met. Our journey that led to love...which led to parenthood and marriage...which led me to wonder if one lifetime on Earth was long enough to share with this man I loved to love.

The wedding was beautiful and the reception was so fun. One of the most fun to which I had been. The Italians love to play tricks at weddings and there were 2 that stood out: 1) Denny had to strap a cucumber to his nether-regions and Katia had balloons tied around her belly. He had to swing the cucumber and POP all the balloons! It was a riot. 2) The waiters were bringing out their cake when one tripped and the whole cake went flying! It was a fake cake - but looked exactly like theirs. It was sponges with icing on it - but everyone was SHOCKED! Including the bride and groom who looked like they were either going to cry or kick the waiters a**es. But then they brought out the real cake and all was well.

Of course, towards the end of the drunken night, the men had to show off their strength and do silly strong man competitions. Patrick won pull-ups, but Danielo won one-arm push-ups (but to me he was cheating because his belly was resting on the ground because he was much bigger in that area)!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Italy Day 4

Continuing from the last post - I spent most of the morning and day by myself, laying on the beach and walking around Terracina. Patrick was HUNG-OVER! Anyway, while cruising around the town I ran into Denny's Aunt and Uncle, Mom and Dad and friends. They had a place on the beach where you rent the space. Even though I had my own nice little section at our hotel, I joined them for some fun. I eventually went and got Patrick and managed to drag him out of bed to come play. It was gorgeous outside (come to think of it - it was gorgeous every day - not even 1 cloud in sight). We stayed there for a while then went back to get ready for the rehearsal dinner party. It was at his/his in-laws house outside of town.

They had it catered but it was still awesome food (of course). And even though I didn't speak the same language as most of the people there, it was still so fun. Love is definitely a universal language. Those crazy Italians know how to party though! As an Italian tradition, Denny had to write and sing a song to Katia. He made up the words to the song "Don't cry for me Argentina" but made it into something about Terracina. Very clever! And very romantic! His brother-in-laws whipped out their guitars and played background for him. ***On a side note, all the songs over there are American songs so they can sing the words perfectly with no accent - but they have no clue what they are saying!!! It was crazy!

We ate, drank and danced into the night. Dessert was my favorite!!! There were so many good things to choose from! I gained all my weight back that I lost though - but it was worth it! Love was definitely in the air and fun was had by all - even hungover Patrick.

***Another side note - By this point I was comfortable enough not to call the kids every other hour to check on them so I really was able to let go and have fun!

Italy - Day 3

Today was our trip to Pompei. We got to the train station right on time with no problems. We did run into some problems when we had to switch trains - twice!!! I am not a public transportation girl, so I was totally confused but caught the hang of it in time. Once we got to Pompei, we had lunch right outside the station and walked about a mile or two to get to Pompei. Bad idea. It was hot and we had 4 older folks and a baby too! But we survived and made it. Once we got there, though, we did not get a map of the place so we were just wondering aimlessly. Another bad idea. Although there is a ton to see, we came mainly to see the statues of the victims. And we couldn't find them anywhere! We walked for hours and even had one of the older ladies quit and just sit down and wait for us to some get her when we left. Finally I asked someone to see their map and we were able to find one of the areas which was right near the exit. We saw it for about 3 minutes - and it was quite depressing. I am glad we went, but overall the day was LONG!!!

When we got back, Patrick and I went out for pizza. I think I like American Pizza better! Anyway, the dinner was great and we had a blast. We were quite spent though and went back to the hotel - hoping to go to sleep. But the guys had other plans. They decided to throw Denny and impromptu bachelor party. I wasn't going to go, but there was another wife there who wanted me to join too - so I bucked up and went. Mistake #3 of the day. If you ever go to Italy and want to go to a strip club during the week - DON"T! It costs us $10 Euro to get in (each) and then we realized that it was not a strip club - it was a (how should I say this?) - a place to get hookers. Once we realized this everyone wanted to leave but the pimp guy made us pay for what it would have cost - $400 euro. So Patrick was pretty drunk (which always annoys me) and then we have to pay all the money we had left (about $100 euro) just to leave. Let's just say I was in a "leave-me-alone" mood all night and the next day. Luckily Patrick was too sick and hungover to come to the beach so I had some alone time the next day to cool down... More on that day later!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Italy Day 2

were so zonked after our flights and the time difference, etc that Patrick and I slept until noon the next day - and finally woke up when Denny got to our hotel to pick us up. You know how it is in hotel rooms where it is so dark and you can't tell if it is night or day?!?!! Anyway, he picked us up and we went for an awesome lunch at his/his in-laws house. They live on the outskirts of town on a ranch-like home at the base of a mountain. They had vineyards, olive trees, and gardens to grow. Lunch was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. SO fresh and yummy! Again, the Italian charm and hospitality was perfect. After lunch, Patrick and I went back to our hotel and laid out by the sea. It was great. Then we headed off to a romantic dinner by ourselves.

Literally, by ourselves. We got to dinner around 9 pm and thought we were late - but then remembered that most people don't eat until after 10 here. Their day is perfect - work from 9-1, siesta from 1-5, work from 5-8. It rocks!!! Except that there is not one store or restaurant open from 1-4 which stinks, and not even one person walking around (except us damn tourists)! But it still makes for very happy people. Anyway, another couple arrived at our restaurant around 10 to ruin our fun - but they sat far away. I ordered steak (who orders steak in Italy?) and Patrick got the "freshly fished fish" (say that three times fast). It came out whole, and embarrassed Patrick had to send it back to get filleted. He said it was delicious!!! We then walked to the town center (which was bumping for a Monday night - but apparently is crazy every night!) and got some gelato from the place Denny recommended. It was SOOOOOOOO good. The best I've had. We walked around and enjoyed the celebration a bit but then back to bed for an early trip to Pompeii the next morning.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Our Italy Trip - Arriving Day

Even though we went to Italy over a month ago - it still is so fresh in my mind. The trip was great - especially for Patrick and me to regroup and spend time as a couple sans the kids. The flight was great. We flew EuroFly and had our own tv screens to watch movies, play games or listen to music. Since it was a red-eye we spent most of the time sleeping - except for when the 3 year old next to us was screaming for over an hour. Poor kid and poor mom. Anyway, it was a pleasant trip. Upon arriving, we waited for over an hour for luggage until we realized it was on a different belt then what they once we figured it out, we picked up our stuff and met Denny and Katia right away!

One thing I was not prepared for was the amount of graffiti and trash there was. And how much gas cost!!!! But I guess their government is way different then ours. It was still beautiful, despite that. It took about 2 hours to get from Rome to Terracina by car - but what really amazed me was the craziness of the drivers. Denny calls it "organized chaos". Pretty true. People would go whizzing by - even if it was only one lane. And there were scooters everywhere! It was actually fun - once I just imagined I was in a video game, and not real life. If I would think it was real I would have been petrified!

Denny dropped us off at our hotel (which was so gorgeous) and we spent a bit of time sleeping on the beach. Then we were off to Denny's brother-in-laws place. They live in old town which is this ancient part of the city (older than Rome) up on top of the hill that overlooks the Mediterranean. The streets were cobblestone and it was 100% old-Italian charm. It was exactly what I wanted to see! We arrived at this small house/apartment - but inside they used every inch of space to capacity. And his bro-in-law (Danielo) was a designer so it was so chic/modern/beautiful. They had a great table that opened up to accommodate all of us. Me, Patrick, Denny, his parents, his aunt and uncle, Katia, her parents, Danielo and his wife. It was great. And the food was fantastic! True, authentic Italian! Of course, we weren't prepared for the SEVEN courses, so Patrick loaded up on course one because he was starving, and barely made it to the final round (dessert). I saved up my room just for the dessert! It was a perfect evening, and even though I didn't speak the same language as half the people there - it was still so welcoming and loving.

One funny moment - Danielo was giving Patrick and me some really good wines to taste and he pulls Patrick over and asks him (in the best English he could muster), "So, you lika my wife?" (instead of wine).
Patrick didn't really know what to say!!! He immediately realized his mistake - but it was the running joke of the week.

Another funny moment - When Denny says the only way to keep an Italian woman quiet is to tie up her hands.